Building a Better Future
2017 was more than just another great year of animal adoptions and successful fundraising events. In 2017, our organization's long-time vision of building a state-of-the-art facility that embraces our life-saving philosophy, supports our community outreach programs, and offers the animals a better quality of life as they wait for homes went from being a dream, to a reality.
I believe the story of how this came together is so clearly a product of our continued faith, hope and divine planning that I'd like to share it with you.
The Struggle is Real
HSHC has been out of space in our current facility for nearly a decade operating with significant spacial and operational challenges such as no intake/arrival area for cats, a quarantine area, a recovery area for the injured, a surgical suite, or outside space for the dogs to exercise to name a few. The fact we've evolved into one of the country's few open-admission, truly No-Kill shelters is absolutely remarkable and a testament to our staff, board, and volunteers' relentless support of our mission. It's a testament to you.
We searched for land or a property to repurpose for several years located in an accessible area where we wouldn't be out of sight, out of mind--but rather--in sight and top of mind. Finding affordable, accessible and zonable land with enough room for the Humane Society to build our vision of a family friendly destination that celebrates the human-animal bond had been unsuccessful.
The Stars Align
A couple of weeks before our Tinsel & Tails gala in November 2016, the
property located at 106th & Hague Road in Fishers went on the market. The beautiful green space, existing buildings, easy accessibility from both 106th and 96th Street--all tucked in and buffered by trees and Ritchie Woods, made this spot perfect. We knew this was our chance, but we would need approximately one million dollars, and quickly, to pursue the opportunity.
Tinsel & Tails arrived which is our largest annual fundraiser supporting the daily operation. Our plan was to share the urgency of this need and perhaps an angel would be in attendance that night to answer the call. Little did we know, an angel was, indeed, present that evening.
Two of our supporters, Nick and Ronda Weybright, had just received our
Fundraiser of the Year Award
and joined me on the stage to accept it. Nick asked if he could say a few words. To my surprise, and subsequent ugly-cry-face, he announced that a gift of approximately
one million dollars had been left to HSHC by an amazing woman named Sheri L. Ridge. Sheri had recently passed away leaving a trust that would help multiple charities save, and change, so many lives for the better. We were honored to be one of them.
Sheri's forthcoming gift, and support of Nick and Ronda Weybright who helped us secure the property before losing out to another buyer, lead to a whirlwind community outreach campaign to gauge and gain community support of our request to relocate the shelter to Fishers. The support from nearby residents, businesses and HSHC advocates in the Fishers community was truly overwhelming.
Running Out of Time
For nearly a decade, I've asked our staff, volunteers and board not to lose hope. On days we've
been so inundated with new arrivals that staff and volunteers have taken animals home to create a little more space, and we've worked into the late evening hours networking for foster and adoptive homes--I've asked them not to lose hope. Sitting on top of each other in the office we outgrew 8 years ago, trying to find a quiet corner in the office or a visiting room where a terrified or seriously injured animal could rest--I've asked them not to lose hope. Watching dogs and cats decline and succumb to illness or depression surrounded by the deafening noise of the kennel or the isolation of stainless steel walls--I've asked them not to lose hope. But with the growing needs of the animals and community with each passing year, month and day--we were losing hope.
On March 20, 2017, City Hall was standing room only as the Fishers Council unanimously voted to approve our zoning request to relocate the Humane Society for Hamilton County from Noblesville to the city of Fishers. After the vote I immediately looked toward our employees and saw something in their faces I hadn't seen in so long. They had hope.
We are now working with our Advisory Council,
on a new facility design that will build upon and expand the two existing buildings on this property. Once we have a completed and approved design, we'll share that with you. Until then, we will continue working toward securing the majority (approximately 80%) of the anticipated $5M in funding we'll need from individual donors and businesses in our community. Then, we'll move from the quiet phase of our capital campaign to the public phase securing the remaining funds through general donations. Due to the urgency of our needs, our timeline goal for building completion is approximately 3 years.
This is going to require a few more angels.
Bust Out Those Wings
There are so many remarkable people in our community. Bountiful blessings have been bestowed upon our county and so many of its residents. The work HSHC does to give over 3,100 animals, regardless of age, breed, disability, special medical needs, time or space, is a blessing. These animals--who go on to complete families, give many seniors a reason to wake up each day, and many veterans a reason not to give up--are a blessing.
Angel Hotline: 317-219-3524
"If you hear this message, wherever you stand,
I'm calling every woman, I'm calling every man.
We're the generation, we can't afford to wait.
The future started yesterday, and we're already late.
We've been looking for the world to change.
If you feel the same, then go on and say that you're out there.
Sing along with me, if you're out there.
They're dying to believe that you're out there.
Stand up and say it loud if you're out there,
Because tomorrow's starting now."